SHANNON CHAMPION RACEHORSE

He was an Australian stallion who had a very successful career in which he started 44 times, won 20 times and came second 8 times.

Apart from having been a successful racehorse, Shannon was also very successful at the Kentucky farm where he sired progenies who won a total of US $ 4 million in earnings. Shannon sired a total of 99 progenies who won different races in a period of 8 seasons.

His honours include being inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in the year 2006 and having a race (Shannon Stakes) named after him. He was also honoured as the American Co-Champion Older Male Horse in 1948. In addition, he equalled the world record times in both Australia and America.

He was owned by Peter Riddle from Australia who bought him for £ 367 at the Ora Stud in Sydney when he was just one year old. His owner also doubled up as his trainer before he was sold to Neil McCarthy from America.

He had earned £19,567 in total earnings during his racing career. Shannon came from a lineage of winners, having been sired by Midstream from Great Britain, who also sired other 39 progenies who won a total of 120 stakes. His dam was Idle Words, who was herself a parent to 12 foals, with three of them having won major stakes.

Shannon’s major wins were at the AJC Sires Produce Stakes, Epsom Handicap, Hobartville Handicap, Hill Stakes, Theo Marks Stakes, and George Main Stakes; all of which were in Australia.

Upon being taken to America, his major wins were at the1948 Forty Niner Stakes, the 1948 Argonaut Handicap, Golden Gate Handicap, the 1948 Hollywood Gold Cup and the San Francisco Handicap.

Shannon started racing as a two year old in the 1943-44 season. He started seven times, won thrice and came second twice. His first win was at the AJC Two-year old Handicap, followed by a win at the AJC Kirkham Stakes. Shannon then won the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes, which was over a distance of 1400 metres.

In the season that followed thereafter, Shannon won the Hobartville Stakes, but was unfortunately unplaced in three other races, which included the Rosehill Guineas, STC Flying Handicap and the AJC Derby. This was a seemingly bad season for Shannon, as he went for 10 months without a race start.

In the 1945-46 seasons, Shannon started in great form with a win at the AJC Campbelltown Handicap, where he raced while carrying nine stone one pound over a distance of 1200 metres.

He then defeated the legendary Flight at the Tattersalls NSW Tramway Handicap before winning the STC Hill Stakes, with the win placing the odds in his favour ahead of the AJC Epsom Handicap.

In the AJC Epsom Handicap, Shannon defeated Melhero and Silent by a neck to win. After a second place finish at the Craven Plate, he was rested.

As a five year old in the 1946-47 season, Shannon won the Campbelltown Handicap for the second time while carrying nine stone 11 pounds and then he followed it up with a win at the Theo Marks Quality Handicap.

However, Shannon failed to carry his great form to the Epsom Handicap where to the amazement of many, he failed to move from the starting point in good time; only leaving after the rest of the park had gone as far as 100 metres. With the aid of Darby Munro (his jockey), he attempted to make up for his miss by speeding off after the rest. However, he failed to beat the eventual winner, Blue Legend by half a head.

He was later received harshly when he returned to scale, an act that was attributed to the failure by the starter to notice that Shannon had not been facing up.

However, Shannon made up for his lacklustre performance two days later when he emerged victorious by a margin of six lengths at the George Main Stakes, in a race that he defeated Flight once again. He was not done with Flight yet, as he went on to defeats him once again in the King’s Cup.

In his fifth season of racing, his trainer who also doubled up as his owner died, thereby forcing an auction in Sydney, where W. Smith bought him for £27,300. In his last four races in Australia, Shannon won the Canterbury Stakes and the George Main Stakes.

He finished second at the Warwick Stakes and was defeated by Russia at the AJC Craven Plate. In 1948, he was sold for £52,000 to Neil McCarthy from California, USA. Upon his arrival in America, Shannon was given to William Molter to train him.

He won the Argonaut Handicap held at the Hollywood Park Racetrack, and then went on to win the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup. His success in America was headed for better days as he won the 1948 Forty Niner Handicap Stakes held over nine furlongs in a world record-equalling time of 1:47 3/5.

One week after his triumph at the Forty Niner Handicap Stakes, he equalled yet another world record over the 10 furlongs at the Golden Gate Handicap. Later on in November, he participated in the San Francisco Handicap held at the Tanforan Racetrack and won the race.

That was Shannon’s last win before he was sold again at a price of US $ 300,000. He was sent to stud alongside Benborough at Leslie Comb’s Kentucky farm.

He sired 11 yearlings who won an average of US $11,755 in earnings each. Sea O Erin was one of his progenies and he won a total of $ 407,259 while his most successful progeny was Clem who earned a total of $ 535,681.Following a horrific accident that broke his leg, a death of mercy (euthanasia) was administered on him to save him from the pain and agony he was undergoing.

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